Indiana's Marijuana Church Sues State
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Indiana's Marijuana Church Sues State
Posted by CN Staff on July 11, 2015 at 09:05:03 PT
By Matt Ferner, National Reporter
Source: Huffington Post
Indiana's First Church of Cannabis -- a religion that embraces marijuana as a holy sacrament, newly born under the state's recently enacted and controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act -- sued the state and the city of Indianapolis this week, claiming the state's marijuana prohibition laws infringe on the church's religious beliefs."Cannabis sativa also known as marijuana or Cannabis, 'the Healing Plant,' is the sacrament of the First Church of Cannabis," reads the lawsuit filed by the church Wednesday in Marion County Circuit Court. "Members of the Church believe cannabis 'brings us closer to ourselves and others, it is our fountain of health, our love, curing us from illness and depression. We embrace it with our whole heart and spirit, individually and as a group.'" 
The lawsuit claims the state's laws that make possession of marijuana a felony and the act of "visiting a place where marijuana is used" a misdemeanor or a felony have "substantially burdened" the church's exercise of religion -- a violation of the constitutions of Indiana and United States. Church founder Bill Levin provided The Huffington Post with a copy of the suit.Levin's church put Indiana's fraught new Religious Freedom Restoration Act to the test when it held its first services on July 1, the day RFRA went into effect. However, church members -- called "cannatarians" -- did not consume marijuana during that service, after law enforcement threatened to arrest and press charges against anyone who did."We are taking legal action today to ensure love has no boundaries in our land," Levin said Wednesday in front of the statehouse about the lawsuit. "Today we invite the state of Indiana and its leaders to joyfully meet us in a court of law for clarifications of our core beliefs. We look forward to engaging them on the high plain of dignity and discipline with love and compassion in our heart to find a swift and sensible answer for our questions on religious equality."The suit names multiple defendants, including Gov. Mike Pence (R), Attorney General Gregory Zoeller and other members of state and local government.Under the religious freedom law, if the state has placed a burden on a person's right to exercise their religion, the state must prove it has a "compelling interest" in doing so and is enforcing that in the least restrictive way possible. What burdens the cannatarians, which Levin says number around 1,000 people currently, is the state's marijuana prohibition laws, enacted long before the church was created and enforced not simply to target the church.David Orentlicher, a law professor at Indiana University, told HuffPost that he was skeptical the church would be able to win this case."First, the church has to show that it's a genuine church," Orentlichter said. "While courts are reluctant to question the sincerity of religious beliefs, religious claimants must get past the threshold question of whether there really is a religion involved rather than religion being used as pretext for other purposes, in this case, the use of marijuana." In deciding whether Levin's church is, in fact, serious, Orentlichter says the court will look to see whether the organization has the usual hallmarks of a religion -- sacred text, a pastoral leader, a code that addresses a wide range of moral and existential questions and a place of worship, among other things.The church has already been recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a public charity and has been granted tax-exempt status. It has also been officially recognized by Indiana's secretary of state office.And while some may question the true intent of a church that includes marijuana use as part of membership, Levin says he isn't joking around about his new faith. He says it's founded on universal principals of love, respect, equality and compassion. And similarly to other religious movements like the Rastafarians in Jamaica who see cannabis use as a sacrament, Levin said, members of his church have adopted a belief in the plant. But unlike the Rastas, there is not a traditional deity at the top of this faith."It has nothing to do with God; I don't have the balls to describe a god to anybody," Levin told HuffPost in an interview earlier this year.The use of cannabis is one of 12 principles, which Levin dubbed the "Diety Dozen," that the church was founded on. They also include tenets like "Don't be an asshole" and "Laugh often, share humor."The case that Levin brings is not without precedent. Federal RFRA laws allow for Native American sacramental use of peyote, a psychoactive plant that is restricted by federal drug laws. In 1993, the Supreme Court also ruled in favor of a Santeria church's ability to sacrifice animals for religious purposes after a Florida city enacted a ban on such practices. The court cited religious freedom in its reasoning. During a recent MSNBC interview, Jon Sturgill, an attorney for the Church of Cannabis, argued that its members deserve the same protections for their marijuana use that members of more established religions, like Catholicism, already receive for the practice of drinking wine during some holy services."You've got 300 people at a Mass and 50 minors going up and drinking wine -- is it illegal outside the confines of that sanctuary? Yes," Sturgill said. "It is not, because it is an exemption under RFRA."The court will consider if the drug use is part of a larger body of activities, "as is the case with peyote use by Native American tribes or alcohol use by many mainstream religions," Orentlichter said, or the sole aspect of the religion. "In cases in which use of controlled substances has been upheld, there's been a long-established religion in which drug use is limited and is one of many components of the religious practice," Orentlichter explained. If the court does see Levin's church as an authentic religion, Orentlicher says the state could still win the case by saying that allowing marijuana use compromises its ability to enforce drug laws.But if the church can show the court that its planned ceremonial marijuana use doesn't seriously risk diverting the substance to uses outside of the church, it may have a better chance of prevailing, Orentlicher said. The state attorney general's office has not yet responded to the suit, but Bryan Corbin, public information officer for the attorney general, told HuffPost they intend to file a response in court "at the appropriate time." Source: Huffington Post (NY)Author: Matt Ferner, National Reporter	Published: July 10, 2015Copyright: 2015, LLC Contact: scoop huffingtonpost.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #2 posted by Hope on July 12, 2015 at 10:08:28 PT
Garry Minor
You could be a blessing to this church, Garry Minor. I think you could be helpful to them in laying out their legal case. You have studied a lot about this and cannabis in religion, and, perhaps, you should share what you've found with Mr. Levin.
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Comment #1 posted by Garry Minor on July 12, 2015 at 05:52:30 PT:
Up Next: Cannabis And Christianity
What's really going to be something is when the so called "Christian" church learns of, accepts and practices what the disciples and early followers of Christ called "The Way!"They poured Holy Anointing Oil over their heads, thus becoming "Christ's," literally Anointed Ones, Christians.The Holy Oil contains 250 shekels of Kaneh Bosm, Cannabis ..... mistranslated as calamus or sweet cane by the Greeks in the 3rd century B.C., then propagated as such in future translations as Hebrew ceased to be a spoken language until the 1800's.What's that say about the churches of the world today?1John 2:18-29. Warning against antichrist John baptized with water, Christ with the Holy Spirit and Fire!
Here is what a True baptism sounds like:From the Acts of Thomas:"And the Apostle arose and sealed them. And the Lord was revealed to them by a voice, saying: Peace be unto you brethren. And they heard his voice only, but his likeness they saw not, for they had not yet received the added sealing of the seal, had not been baptized. And the Apostle took the oil and poured it upon their heads and anointed and chrismed them, and began to say: Come, thou Holy name of the Christ that is above every name. Come, thou power of the Most High, and the compassion that is perfect.Come, gift (charism) of the Most High.Come, compassionate mother.Come, communion of the male.Come, she that revealeth the hidden mysteries.Come, mother of the seven houses, that thy rest be in the eighth house.Come, elder of the five members, mind, thought, reflection, consideration, reason; communicate with these young men.Come, Holy Spirit, and cleanse their reins and their heart, and give them the added seal, in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost. 
And when they were sealed, there appeared unto them a youth holding a lighted torch, so that their lamps became dim at the approach of the light thereof. And he went forth and was no more seen of them. And the Apostle said unto the Lord: Thy light O Lord, is not to be contained by us, and we are not able to bear it, for it is too great for our sight."and again;Having thus prayed over them, the apostle said unto Mygdonia: Unclothe thy sisters. And she took off their clothes and girded them with girdles and brought them: but Iuzanes had first gone before, and they came after him; and the apostle took oil in a cup of silver and spake thus over it: Fruit more beautiful than all other fruits, unto which none other whatsoever may be compared: altogether merciful: fervent with the force of the word: power of the tree which men putting upon them overcome their adversaries: crowner of the conquerors: help (symbol) and joy of the sick: that didst announce unto men their salvation that showest light to them that are in darkness; whose leaf is bitter, but in thy most sweet fruit thou art fair, that art rough to the sight but soft to the taste; seeming to be weak, but in the greatness of thy strength able to bear the power that beholdeth all things. Having thus said [a corrupt word follows]: Jesu: let his victorious might come and be established in this oil, like as it was established in the tree (wood) that was its kin, even his might at that time, whereof they that crucified thee could not endure the word: let the gift also come whereby breathing upon his (thine) enemies thou didst cause them to go backward and fall headlong and let it rest on this oil, whereupon we invoke thine holy name. And having thus said, he poured it first upon the head of Iuzanes and then upon the women's heads, saying: In thy name, O Jesu Christ, let it be unto these souls for remission of sins and for turning back of the adversary and for salvation of their souls. And he commanded Mygdonia to anoint them but he himself anointed Iuzanes. And having anointed them he led them down into the water in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost.From the Gospel of Philip;"The chrism is superior to baptism, for it is from the word "Chrism" that we have been called "Christians," certainly not from the word "baptism." And it is because of the "Chrism" that the "Christ" has his name. For the Father anointed the Son, and the Son anointed the Apostles, and the Apostles anointed us. He who has been anointed possesses everything. He possesses the resurrection, the light, the cross, the Holy Spirit. The Father gave him this in the Bridal chamber, he merely accepted the gift. The Father was in the Son and the Son in the Father. This is the Kingdom of Heaven."One would think that people would embrace such a wonderful thing?
A resurrection of the Christ Spirit!Christ Cures the cancers, and, in my mind verification of the Book they claim to live by! However, that's not been the case in Columbus Indiana!Not yet!I suppose it would be difficult to admit you've been deceived!
Oh well!The leaves of the Tree are for the healing of nations.Kaneh Bosm
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